Mid-Century Modern

a BeadFX Inspiration project

by Dwyn Tomlinson

The clean, simplified lines and contrasts of Mid-Century Modern design are hugely popular with collectors. Here – we combine Czech glass carrier beads with Greek Cymbal Maratha beads and coordinating druks (round beads) for a simple design that is a contemporary take on MCM.

There are a number of ways to approach constructing this necklace. However, my experience with a center piece like this is that it can be hard to get it to not “spread out” and develop gaps if you just string it. I chose to use wire to create the center motif, and strung the supporting strands with Softflex(tm) and used Wire Guardians for a nice, neat look.

At 17 inches in total, I designed it to sit fairly high up, but not at choker length, as I personally find chokers to be uncomfortable. (Like, really uncomfortable!)

Assemble the Ingredients

You will need

  • Carrier Beads x4 – I used Turquoise Green, but there is a rainbow to choose from
  • Maratha Beads x 5. I think a whole necklace using these would be awesome, but they are a tad pricey. I used Gold Plated, but there are 3 metal color choices
  • 4mm Druks, I used 1 and a part of a strand in Jade Opal to match the Carrier Beads, and
  • for contrast, I choose 4mm Crystal Aurum2x (to match the Marathas) – I used less than a full strand. I coordinated the wire, softflex, crimp covers, and clasp to this color choice.
  • 6mm Druks also in Jade Opal – to match the 4mm and Carrier Beads. The color choice is, of course, ultimately up to you.
  • Wire – 22ga is fine
  • Softflex – Medium or fine I used Champagne, but that’s because it was on hand.
  • Crimps – Sterling tubes are my go-to for strength and durability
  • Crimp covers
  • Wire Guardians – to fit the Softflex.
  • Clasp – this was from my personal stash, and has been hanging around for a long time. The link takes you to a nice substitute.
  • Jumprings – x2 – 7mm or whatever you have on hand.
  • Wire Cutters, for the softflex and the wire
  • Roundnose pliers – to make the loops in the wire
  • Crimp Pliers – to crimp the crimps and close the crimp covers.

Making the Necklace

Start by crafting the center piece.

Cut two pieces of your wire, each about 6 inches long. Form a nice, small, loop at one end of each piece of wire, and then string the Carrier Beads and Marathas alternately. Trim the remaining end of the wire down to about 2cm (1 inch) and use the roundnose pliers to coil up into a matching small loop that holds the beads firmly together. Now do the same with the other wire and the other hole.

String the supporting beads

Using a crimp bead, secure a length of softflex (about 30 cm/2 feet) with a crimp tube, and cover it with a crimp cover. I did the inner / top strand first, and did a pattern of 3x 4mm druks, 1 4mm contrast (gold), and 1 4mm, 1 6mm, and 1 4mm bead, and then the gold again. I did this all the way out, alternating – until I had the length I needed, 5 and a half repetitions.

Notice how the 4mm crimp cover looks virtually identical to the 4mm gold contrast bead? This is one of the secrets to making jewelry that looks very finished and professional.

Another view

on the other side.

String both sides

I did the inner strand on both, and then the outer strand. The outer strand is just 4mm beads, 4x Jade Opal, 1 gold, repeat 11 times. I found that putting the 6mm beads in the outer strand made it difficult to get it to line up properly and lay flat and look nice.

The outer strand is longer

Make the outer strand longer – as it has further to go around the outside of the circle that is your neck.

Attach the Clasp

Use Wire Guardians to create a nice defined loop. Add a crimp, add the guardian, and go back through the crimp and secure. Cover the crimp with a crimp cover. I attached them to the clasp with a jump ring – which gives them a little bit of extra room to settle and lay flat.

And the finished result

The end result. Took me about 2 hours to make, once I had the idea in mind.

Carrier Beads

I haven’t used the Carrier beads for anything other than as a base for “carrying” bands of peyote stitch. I found them to be very attractive and make a really nice, punchy block of color. The turquoise green is a total classic. Not including the findings and clasp (which all came out of what I had on hand) – (or the tools, also on hand) – this total cost was about $35.50, with left overs for earrings or a bracelet.

Unique

A search using google image search did not find anything very similar, so making this will give you a unique and noteworthy item. All the comparable pieces I found were either Turquoise or Amazonite and certainly in the much pricier range!

Cheers!

Feel free to make this for yourself or for sale. No attribution necessary.

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